Friday’s Game Report: Pirates 4, Cardinals 0
By Rob Rains, STLSportsPage.com
Getting runners on base wasn’t a problem for the Cardinals on Friday night. Getting them all the way around the bases was the issue.
The Cardinals had 10 hits, albeit all of them singles, and left 12 runners on base as they were shut out for the second time in four games in the opener of the series against the Pirates at Busch Stadium.
Six of their stranded runners came in the first five innings against Pirates starter Mitch Keller, who has allowed only one run in 16 career innings against the Cardinals over three starts, the other two coming last year.
Keller came into the game with a 6.86 ERA this season and a 6.30 ERA for his career.
The last time the Cardinals left 12 or more runners on base in a shutout loss was on May 22, 2015, when they left 13 runners on base in a 5-0 loss to the Royals.
Here is how Friday night’s game broke down:
At the plate: Lars Nootbaar had three of the Cardinals’ 10 hits, including a bunt single against the shift. Tommy Edman reached base three times on two hits and a walk … The Cardinals had runners on first and third with one out in the second and the fifth, and also first and third with two outs in the sixth, and first and second with one out in the seventh, and stranded all of those runners … They were 0-of-7 with runners in scoring position.
On the mound: Miles Mikolas made just his second start of the season and allowed just two unearned runs over five innings. After making two great catches earlier in the game, Harrison Bader misplayed a ball in the fourth for a two-base error that led to both runs. Mikolas, whose other start was on May 22, walked two, hit a batter and struck out five, throwing 84 pitches … Andrew Miller allowed a run in his two innings of relief, and the final Pittsburgh run scored in the ninth on a home run off Daniel Ponce de Leon, making his first appearance for the Cardinals since June 22.
Key stat: The last time the Cardinals had 10 or more hits (11) and were shut out was on Sept. 7, 2017, a 3-0 loss to the Padres. The last time it happened against the Pirates was in 2006, and those are the only two times that has happened since 1997.
Worth noting: Ryan Helsley was placed on the 10-day IL on Friday because of a stress reaction in his right elbow, similar to a bone bruise, which the team said he had been dealing with for the last few days and left him unavailable to pitch. The move opened a roster spot for Mikolas … The Cardinals are working on a plan for the next step in Kwang Hyun Kim’s return to the roster. Kim worked two innings (34 pitches) in a start in Memphis on Thursday night. A decision has not been made on whether Kim will return as a starter or move to the bullpen … The Elias Sports Bureau noted that the win by the Cardinals on Thursday night was the first time they had come back to win a game when they trailed by at least three runs since May 3. They had lost their last 37 games when trailing by at least three runs, their longest streak since losing 41 games in a row in 1913 … Infielder Brandon Donovan was promoted from Springfield to Memphis on Friday. It’s his second promotion of the year, having begun the season at Class A Peoria, the same as outfielder Alec Burleson.
Looking ahead: J.A. Happ will get the start on Saturday night in the second game of the series. Also on Saturday, Keith Hernandez, Tom Herr, John Tudor and Bill White will be inducted into the Cardinals Hall of Fame during a 3 p.m. ceremony at Ballpark Village.
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